Hoping to revive his career with the Texas Rangers, Benson faces his former club for the first time while trying to help his new team avoid a sixth straight loss, and a sweep by the visiting Orioles on Wednesday night.
Benson (0-1, 12.60 ERA) returned from a two-year absence following a rotator cuff injury by allowing seven earned runs and 10 hits in five innings of a 15-2 loss at Detroit on Friday.
“I didn’t do it well and it cost us the game,” said Benson, who went 11-12 with a 4.82 ERA in 30 starts for Baltimore in 2006. “Obviously it wasn’t too good.”
Signed to a minor league contract by Texas in February, the No. 1 overall draft pick in 1996 will again try for his first win since Sept. 21, 2006.
That could be a tall order for the right-hander as the Rangers (3-5) look to avoid being swept in consecutive series after taking a three-game set from Cleveland at home to open the season.
“It’s frustrating,” outfielder Nelson Cruz said after the Rangers’ 7-5 loss in 10 innings to Baltimore on Tuesday. “We’ve got to find a way to win.”
Looking for a third consecutive victory overall, Baltimore (6-2) hasn’t swept a three-game series at Texas since July 21-23, 1997.
Roberts is batting .441 (15-for-34), and is 6-for-10 with four runs scored in the series. Jones, meanwhile, is hitting .375 (12-for-32) with eight RBIs for Baltimore, which leads the AL East.
The Orioles, though, are expected to place third baseman Melvin Mora on the 15-day disabled list after he missed the first two games of the series with a strained hamstring.
George Sherrill allowed two runs in a shaky 10th for the Orioles, whose bullpen was the difference, allowing just two runs over the final 8 2-3 innings after starter Alfredo Simon left with an injury.
“Like I’ve been saying, in the early part of the season, what it comes down to is you got to make pitches and you got to make plays,” Orioles manager Dave Trembley said. “We made pitches and we made plays when it counted.”
Trembley hopes Mark Hendrickson makes more of the same pitches as he did during his Orioles’ debut. Signed as a free agent in January, Hendrickson (1-0, 1.69) allowed one run and six hits in 5 1-3 innings of a 5-4 win over Tampa Bay on Friday.
“He gave us everything he had and we’re real proud of him,” Trembley said of the former Rays pitcher. “He did a tremendous, tremendous job.”
The left-hander is 1-2 with a 9.00 ERA against Texas and has never started a game in Arlington.
Michael Young and Cruz each homered on Tuesday for Texas, which has gone deep at least once in each of its first eight games for the first time in club history.
Young is 5-for-9 with two homers in the series, and 4-for-8 with a homer and three RBIs against Hendrickson.
Though the Rangers continue to hit the ball well, they’ve been outscored 42-23 during their skid.